Victor Hugo Cuevas . AP PhotoRICHMOND: While a Texas man who police allege is the owner of a tiger that frightened residents after it was seen briefly wandering around a Houston neighborhood was ordered back behind bars on Friday, the animal’s whereabouts remain a mystery. An all-day court hearing Friday didn’t reveal any new information on the tiger’s whereabouts as Houston police say about 300 tips they’ve so far received haven’t panned out. Police allege Victor Hugo Cuevas is the owner of the tiger, a nine-month-old male named India, and he is facing a charge of evading arrest after authorities allege he fled from Houston officers who responded to a call about a dangerous animal on Sunday night. After a court hearing in a separate case Cuevas, 26, is facing in neighboring Fort Bend County, his attorney, Michael W. Elliott, reiterated his client doesn’t own the tiger. Elliott said he only knew the first name of the owner, that he has been working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to find India and that Cuevas only wants for the animal to be safe. “We want to find India. Somebody knows where India is at. Hopefully the cat is still doing well,” Elliott said. At a separate news conference in Houston earlier Friday, police Cmdr. Ron Borza said some of the tips officers have received on the tiger’s possible location have been “a little bit crazy.” “We know the group of people that are involved in the exotic animal trade here in Houston … We have visited all of them and no luck so far,” Borza said. Investigators believe the tiger has likely been passed around between six and eight different locations in Houston in an effort to hide it but that the animal is probably still in the city, Borza said. Carole Baskin has offered a $5,000 reward for the tiger’s safe return. At the time of his arrest on Monday for allegedly evading Houston police, Cuevas was already out on bond for a murder charge in a 2017 fatal shooting in Fort Bend County. Cuevas has maintained the shooting was self-defense, Elliott said. Cuevas had been released on a separate bond for the evading arrest charge on Wednesday. During a court hearing Friday, Fort Bend County prosecutor Christopher Baugh asked Cuevas be held without a bond for the murder charge, alleging the incident with the tiger showed Cuevas “has a total disregard for the public safety.” State District Judge Frank J. Fraley did not grant the request, but instead revoked Cuevas’ current $125,000 bond and issued a new bond for $300,000. It was the fifth time that Cuevas’ bond had been revoked in the murder case. Borza said that Cuevas and his attorney have not cooperated with Houston police in the search for the tiger but “maybe if he goes to jail he’d be more cooperative with us. We’ll see how that goes.” During Friday’s court hearing, Waller County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Wes Manion testified he lives in the Houston neighborhood and was alerted about the tiger by a neighbor. Manion testified he interacted with the tiger for about 10 minutes to make sure it didn’t go after someone else and that Cuevas came out of his house yelling, “Don’t kill it” and that it was his tiger. “He approached the tiger, grabbed it by the collar, kissed its forehead,” Manion said. The deputy said he identified himself to Cuevas and told him not to leave after he loaded the animal in the back of a white Jeep Cherokee but that Cuevas fled the scene just as Houston police arrived. During the court hearing, Elliott argued Cuevas was not aware that Houston police wanted to question him and that he only left because he feared for the tiger’s safety because Manion had been aggressive. Elliott said the tiger’s release was an accident as it likely jumped a fence. Elliott also said Cuevas did nothing illegal as Texas has no statewide law forbidding private ownership of tigers and other exotic animals. Tigers are not allowed within Houston city limits under a city ordinance unless the handler, such as a zoo, is licensed to have exotic animals. After the court hearing, Elliott described the tiger as more of a pet, like a dog, and that Cuevas would occasionally take care of the animal for its owner. Elliott provided copies of pictures that showed Cuevas cuddling with the tiger and kissing it. Elliott said Cuevas, who is a mixed martial arts fighter and has also worked as a barber, first met the tiger’s owner after buying a dog from him and that the man later informed him he had other animals, including the tiger. “This (tiger) is loved like a dog. Victor’s love for this cat … is real,” Elliott said. Elliott said he did not know if Cuevas would be able to post his new bond but if he is again released, Cuevas will do all he can to find the tiger and have it live the rest of its life in a wildlife preserve. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail
Some now see the beginnings of a new Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.
MILAN: Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has left Milan’s San Raffaele hospital after a five-day stay, a spokesman for his Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party said on Saturday. Berlusconi, 84, exited via a side entrance and was not seen by photographers and cameramen waiting outside the main doors. Speculation has mounted in recent days that Berlusconi’s health is deteriorating badly. His doctors have not released a detailed update on his condition for weeks, however, his party denied on Friday that he was in a critical condition. “This is not the moment for obituaries,” one party source said. The billionaire businessman has checked into hospital on a number of occasions after coming down with coronavirus last September. He told reporters at the time he had survived “the most dangerous challenge” of his life, but sources later said he continued to suffer ill effects from the deadly virus. He was hospitalised in March and twice in April. He also went to hospital in January due to a heart problem. Political ally Matteo Salvini told reporters on Friday that Berlusconi was “not very well”, but predicted he would swiftly bounce back.
The election board says delays in opening polling stations and voter registration have pushed back the voting day.Ethiopia has delayed its national election again after some opposition parties said they would not take part and as a conflict in the country’s Tigray region means no vote is being held there, further complicating Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s efforts to centralise power.
Birtukan Mideksa, chairperson of The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), “indicated that delays in opening polling stations and voter registration have pushed the voting day”, state news agency Fana reported on Saturday.
Mideksa told Reuters news agency the election would not happen on June 5 as scheduled.
“We will let everybody [know] soon as to how many additional weeks or days to complete the delayed tasks … Wouldn’t be more than three weeks,” she added.
Mideksa cited a plethora of logistical delays, such as finalising voter registration, training electoral staff, printing and distributing ballot papers.
“Practically, it became impossible to deliver all these at the originally slated dates,” she said.
With just weeks to go to the election, there had been few signs of campaigning, and several opposition parties planned to boycott the vote, describing it as a “farce”.
Ethiopians fleeing the ongoing fighting in the Tigray region carry their belongings after crossing the Setit River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border [File: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]The vote was originally planned for August last year but was postponed for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which was ruling the northern region at the time, had resisted the postponement and held its regional elections in September.
This was a factor that led to the conflict between the TPLF and the central government in Addis Ababa, which has been ongoing since early November.
The fighting in Tigray has killed thousands and led the United States to allege that “ethnic cleansing” against Tigrayans was being carried out in the western part of the region that is home to some six million.
The prime minister, who introduced sweeping political reforms after taking office in 2018 and won the Nobel Peace Prize the following year, has repeatedly promised that this election would be free and fair.
Abiy will keep his post if his Prosperity Party wins a majority of seats in the national assembly.
Marjorie Taylor Greene. AP PhotoWASHINGTON: A year before her election to Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene searched for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at her Capitol office, taunting the New York Democrat to “get rid of your diaper” and “talk to the American citizens,” as shown in video unearthed Friday by CNN. “I am an American citizen. I pay your salary through the taxes that you collect from me through the IRS,” Greene says through the mail slot of a locked door. “I am a woman. I am a female business owner and I’m proud to be an American woman. And I do not support your socialist policies.” The Georgia Republican continued: “If you want to be a big girl, you need to get rid of your diaper and come out and be able to talk to the American citizens.” Two men appear along with her in the video, also mocking Ocasio-Cortez and her staff through the mail slot. The release of the since-deleted video, which was initially broadcast in February 2019 on Facebook Live, came the same week that Greene followed Ocasio-Cortez off the House floor, shouting that the Democrat supported “terrorists” and doesn’t “care about the American people,” as first reported by The Washington Post. She has been challenging Ocasio-Cortez to a debate on Twitter, entreaties that Ocasio-Cortez had been ignoring. Asked Friday about the “context” of the 2019 video, Greene told reporters, “Walking around and talking to members of Congress who serve the taxpayers that, now we’ve got taxpayers aren’t even allowed to come talk to us, that’s the context.” The incidents add to a portrait of the activist-turned-lawmaker who has shown little interest in governing, but has instead used her platform to float conspiracy theories, push Donald Trump’s false claims about a stolen 2020 election and further her own notoriety. Her combativeness toward colleagues has only grown after an unprecedented rebuke where the House stripped her of committee assignments, effectively ending her ability to shape legislation. Another confrontation Friday involved a member of her staff. Rep. Eric Swalwell said a staffer for Greene yelled at him to take his mask off after stepping off the House floor, an unusual of breach of decorum. Though the CDC has relaxed mask-wearing guidelines for those who have been vaccinated, many lawmakers continue to wear them, and they are still required on the House floor. “I had a mask on as I stepped off the Floor. An aide with @mtgreenee yelled at me to take my mask off. No one should be bullied for wearing a mask,”‘ Swalwell tweeted. “So I told the bully what I thought of his order.” On Twitter Friday, Greene said she had witnessed the confrontation and claimed, “No one yelled.” Greene’s behavior has alarmed some members of Congress, where feelings remain raw after the deadly Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters intent on overturning the outcome of the 2020 election. “This is a woman that’s deeply unwell and clearly needs some help,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters Friday. “Her kind of fixation has lasted for several years now” and the “depth of that unwellness has raised concerns for other members, as well.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Greene’s behavior was “beyond the pale” and raised the possibility of an ethics investigation. “This is beneath the dignity of a person serving in the Congress of the United States and is a cause for trauma, and fear among members, especially on the heels of an insurrection,” Pelosi said Thursday.. Yet so far, Republicans have shown little appetite for punishing Greene. They rallied around her in February after some of her past comments came to light, including her endorsement of calls to assassinate leading Democrats. That left it to Democrats, who were joined by 11 Republicans, in voting to strip her of her committee assignments. As a congressional candidate, Greene posted a photo in 2020 of herself with a gun next to images of Ocasio-Cortez and fellow Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Before her election, she also supported Facebook posts that advocated violence against Democrats and the FBI. One suggested shooting Pelosi in the head. In response to a post raising the prospect of hanging former President Barack Obama, Greene responded that the “stage is being set.” In one 2018 Facebook posts, she speculated that “lasers or blue beams of light” controlled by a left-wing cabal tied to a powerful Jewish family could have been responsible for sparking California wildfires. And in February 2019, Greene appeared in an another online video filmed at the US Capitol, arguing that Omar and Tlaib weren’t “really official” members of Congress because they didn’t take the oath of office on the Bible. Both women are Muslim. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail
For much of Canada’s media, the death of an old dog is more newsworthy than the suffering and deaths of imprisoned Palestinians.
That is, in particular, the disgraceful, inescapable indictment of the journalists who populate Canada’s national network, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
If the CBC and you doubt this, remember these facts.
On April 27, Human Rights Watch (HRW), the cautious darling of the Western press, published a 213-page report belatedly finding that Israel has, almost since its engineered inception, ruthlessly and systematically persecuted Palestinians.
The overarching motive behind Israel’s ruthless, systemic persecution of Palestinians is not to keep Israelis safe. Rather, Israel’s sinister aim is to impose ethnic supremacy in occupied Palestine and to crush Palestinians into ghettos with grinding, inhuman efficiency.
The, by now, familiar scenes of fanatical Israeli thugs – in and out of uniforms – assaulting Palestinians resisting eviction from their homes in occupied Jerusalem are vivid proof of Israel’s malevolent intent. So too are, of course, images of the limp, disfigured bodies of infants and children – all victims, yet again, of Israel’s brutal bombardment of Gaza.
Israel, HRW concluded, has, for generations, been guilty of apartheid as a matter of international law, not a facile, rhetorical allegation.
The HRW report made a lot of news and triggered a lot of commentary on this page and on other major media across the globe. But not in Canada. And, most blatantly, not on any of CBC’s many publicly-financed digital and broadcast platforms.
Not a word was uttered about, nor was a moment devoted to, the HRW report by any CBC journalist on April 27, despite the network having received an advance copy.
Now, on May 8, the Obama family’s cute Portuguese water dog, Bo, died, after succumbing to cancer. Bo was described as a “White House celebrity” in the headline attached to a lengthy story about his death published by the CBC online.
So, in the cockeyed calculus of CBC journalists, the passing of a “celebrity” dog constituted “news” that required Canadians’ urgent attention, but Israel’s documented crimes against humanity exacted on besieged Palestinians – decade after pitiless decade – did not warrant even a mention by the network on April 27 and save for this buried, passing reference, in the days since.
The CBC also did not invite a Palestinian-Canadian on any of its news or current affairs programmes to discuss the HRW report’s careful findings and recommendations that demanded its attention since they would have provided an instructive framework for Canadian viewers to understand Israel’s manifest record of aggression.
Beyond being a sorry, indelible stain on its already fading reputation, CBC’s institution-wide embargo of the HRW report is in glaring violation of the public broadcaster’s unique, supposedly sacrosanct, mandate to offer Canadians programming that “informs, enlightens and…reflect[s] Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences”.
Why was the HRW report not covered?
To try to answer that question, I approached 17 hosts of the CBC’s most popular news and current affairs programmes with several queries via email to explain their individual and collective failure to “inform, enlighten” and allow Canadians, including scores of able and willing Palestinian-Canadians, to “reflect” publicly on HRW’s report from April 27 onwards.
None of these suddenly mute journalists-turned-TV and radio personalities who ask questions for a living responded. Not one. Instead, they shunted me to a CBC PR official.
Their sad hypocrisy is on clear, dishonourable display.
These CBC journalists – who routinely extol the virtues of the fourth estate and the broadcaster they work for as an indispensable means to hold powerful public and private individuals and institutions to account – retreat like timorous politicians into silence when a nettlesome member of the fraternity tries to hold them to account.
Like celebrities, these star journalists defer to their PR “people” to speak for and protect them from prickly questions.
In a series of emails, CBC spokesperson, Chuck Thompson, acknowledged that CBC “did not pursue any stories regarding the Human Rights Watch report from April 27th”.
Later, when pressed, he claimed that “there was no edict (nor would there ever be on any story) from anyone within CBC News not to cover this report. Every day, across the service, our program teams make independent, editorial decisions as to what they will cover on their respective shows”.
Translation: Yes, it is true, all these CBC journalists working on all these news and current affairs programmes all decided not to cover the HRW report on precisely the same day and they made all those editorial decisions all by themselves. But in no way was that an act of collusion. It was just a miraculous happenstance.
This is as absurd as it is shameful and it cannot stand for several irrefutable reasons that gagged, myopic CBC journalists and their excuse-mongering confederates need to understand finally.
The CBC is owned by Palestinian Canadians too. They can no longer be treated not only as invisible but as the “other” on Canada’s public airwaves.
As such, when a leading human rights group finds that Palestinians have been methodically humiliated, evicted, imprisoned, tortured, murdered and had their ancestral homes stolen as a consequence of Israeli apartheid, then their voices must be heard clearly and repeatedly on the CBC.
Further, CBC can no longer be permitted to practice a transparent double-standard when it comes to its coverage of international human rights “abusers”.
Examine a slice of the incriminating evidence.
On January 14, 2020, CBC posted a story online on an HRW report lacing into China’s human rights outrages.
This is the story’s stinging lead paragraph: “In an annual report, Human Rights Watch released a scathing review of the Chinese government, calling on the international community to push back against ‘the most brutal and pervasive oppression China has seen in decades.’”
Three years earlier, CBC produced a 22-minute documentary that put Russia in its journalistic crosshairs and explained to its audience in a headline: How Canada set out to punish Russia’s human rights abusers.
When HRW establishes that Israel is culpable for the wholesale, illegal persecution of Palestinians and of practising apartheid in occupied Palestine, the CBC treats this criminality as taboo and has failed to air calls in Canada and abroad for Israel to be punished for its crimes.
By prohibiting Palestinian Canadian writers, academics and historians a forum to inform, enlighten and reflect upon HRW’s scathing report, CBC has deliberately prevented Canadians from inspecting the historical context to make sense of the recent eruption of state-sanctioned violence throughout occupied Palestine.
Israel’s unlawful and pending evictions of Palestinians from their homes in occupied Jerusalem, its unilateral repression of Palestinians’ right to assembly, its bloody, sacrilegious attacks on Palestinian worshippers at one of Islam’s holiest sites, its indiscriminate, disproportionate killings of children, women and men in Gaza are not the latest “spasms” of the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict”.
These are, as HRW makes plain, acts of an occupying army whose intent is to batter, bludgeon and bomb Palestinians out of their land and existence.
That preening, “progressive” apostle of human rights and rules-based order, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, also prefers to say and do nothing about Israel’s crimes. Lately, he has been busy granting friction-free interviews to obsequious reporters and self-proclaimed online luminaries who play an agreeable game of T-ball with the ever-effervescent prime minister.
Predictably, Trudeau is never challenged to square his puerile-sounding, unqualified support for Israel with, as HRW succinctly and accurately puts it, “the reality on the ground”.
When he is grudgingly compelled to address “the reality on the ground”, Canada’s telegenic poster-boy for hypocrisy clings to and spouts lies in the face of the perpetual humiliation, violence and terror visited on Palestinians by Israel in occupied Palestine – yesterday, today and tomorrow. Only days ago, as the Israeli army was primed, once more, to pummel Palestinians into deference and submission, Trudeau declared like a wind-up marionette that “Canada supports Israel’s right to assure its own security”.
Trudeau’s “policy” towards occupied Palestine – such that it is – amounts to this: Palestinians are supposed to take it, take it, take it, take it, take it, take it, take it, take it as long as Israel wants to humiliate them, traumatise them, evict them, steal from them, imprison them, torture them, maim them, shoot them, cluster-bomb them, invade them, and slaughter them.
Canada’s diplomats – who, stripped of all the polite embroidery, do Trudeau’s callous, retrograde bidding in the Middle East – have been “reviewing” HRW’s report for two weeks.
An official with Canada’s foreign ministry, Global Affairs Canada, “respectfully declined” my requests to be interviewed about the brutality of Israeli apartheid and the grim, familiar costs of the uprising unfolding in occupied Palestine to resist it.
Just like the gallery of uncharacteristically taciturn CBC journalists, apparently, this nation’s diplomats have other, more pressing matters on their minds.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.
The Long March 5 Y-4 rocket, carrying an unmanned Mars probe of the Tianwen-1 mission, takes off from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Wenchang, Hainan Province (File Photo)BEIJING: An uncrewed Chinese spacecraft successfully landed on the surface of Mars on Saturday, state news agency Xinhua reported, making China the second space-faring nation after the United States to land on the Red Planet. The Tianwen-1 spacecraft landed on a site on a vast plain known as Utopia Planitia, “leaving a Chinese footprint on Mars for the first time,” Xinhua said. Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a message of congratulations to all the people involved in the mission. “You were brave enough for the challenge, pursued excellence and placed our country in the advanced ranks of planetary exploration,” he said. “Your outstanding achievement will forever be etched in the memories of the motherland and the people.” The craft left its parked orbit at about 1700 GMT Friday (0100 Beijing time Saturday). The landing module separated from the orbiter three hours later and entered the Martian atmosphere, the official China Space News said. It said the landing process consisted of “nine minutes of terror” as the module decelerates and then slowly descends. The official landing time was 2318 GMT (0718 Beijing time), Xinhua said, citing the China National Space Administration. The rover took more than 17 minutes to unfold its solar panels and antenna and send signals to ground controllers more than 320 million kilometres away. The rover, named Zhurong, will now survey the landing site before departing from its platform to conduct inspections. Named after a mythical Chinese god of fire, Zhurong has six scientific instruments including a high-resolution topography camera. It will study the planet’s surface soil and atmosphere. Zhurong will also look for signs of ancient life, including any sub-surface water and ice, using a ground-penetrating radar. Tianwen-1, or “Questions to Heaven”, after a Chinese poem written two millennia ago, is China’s first independent mission to Mars. A probe co-launched with Russia in 2011 failed to leave the Earth’s orbit. The five-tonne spacecraft blasted off from the southern Chinese island of Hainan in July last year, launched by the powerful Long March 5 rocket. After more than six months in transit, Tianwen-1 reached the Red Planet in February where it had been in orbit since. If Zhurong is successfully deployed, China would be the first country to orbit, land and release a rover in its maiden mission to Mars. Tianwen-1 was one of three that reached Mars in February, with U.S. rover Perseverance successfully touching down on Feb. 18 in a huge depression called Jezero Crater, more than 2,000 km away from Utopia Planitia. Hope – the third spacecraft that arrived at Mars in February this year – is not designed to make a landing. Launched by the United Arab Emirates, it is currently orbiting above Mars gathering data on its weather and atmosphere. The first successful landing ever was made by NASA’s Viking 1 in July 1976 and then by Viking 2 in September that year. A Mars probe launched by the former Soviet Union landed in December 1971, but communication was lost seconds after landing. China is pursuing an ambitious space programme. It is testing reusable spacecraft and is also planning to establish manned lunar research station. In a commentary published on Saturday, Xinhua said China was “not looking to compete for leadership in space” but was committed to “unveiling the secrets of the universe and contributing to humanity’s peaceful use of space.” FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail
On Instagram and Twitter, Palestinians are documenting the violence against them.
The water crisis along the California-Oregon border went from dire to catastrophic this week. AP PhotoPORTLAND: The water crisis along the California-Oregon border went from dire to catastrophic this week as federal regulators shut off irrigation water to farmers from a critical reservoir and said they would not send extra water to dying salmon downstream or to a half-dozen wildlife refuges that harbor millions of migrating birds each year. In what is shaping up to be the worst water crisis in generations, the US Bureau of Reclamation said it will not release water this season into the main canal that feeds the bulk of the massive Klamath Reclamation Project, marking a first for the 114-year-old irrigation system. The agency announced last month that hundreds of irrigators would get dramatically less water than usual, but a worsening drought picture means water will be completely shut off instead. The entire region is in extreme or exceptional drought, according to federal monitoring reports, and Oregon’s Klamath County is experiencing its driest year in 127 years. “This year’s drought conditions are bringing unprecedented hardship to the communities of the Klamath Basin,” said Reclamation Deputy Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton, calling the decision one of “historic consequence.” “Reclamation is dedicated to working with our water users, tribes and partners to get through this difficult year and developing long-term solutions for the basin.” The canal, a major component of the federally operated Klamath Reclamation Project, funnels Klamath River water from the Upper Klamath Lake just north of the Oregon-California border to more than 130,000 acres (52,600 hectares), where generations of ranchers and farmers have grown hay, alfalfa and potatoes and grazed cattle. Only one irrigation district within the 200,000-acre (80,940-hectare) project will receive any water from the Klamath River system this growing season, and it will have a severely limited supply, the Klamath Water Users Association said in a statement. Some other farmers rely on water from a different river, and they will also have a limited supply. “This just couldn’t be worse,” said Klamath Irrigation District president Ty Kliewer. “The impacts to our family farms and these rural communities will be off the scale.” At the same time, the agency said it would not release any so-called “flushing flows” from the same dam on the Upper Klamath Lake to bolster water levels downstream in the lower Klamath River. The river is key to the survival of coho salmon, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In better water years the pulses of water help keep the river cool and turbulent – conditions that help the fragile species. The fish are central to the diet and culture of the Yurok Tribe, California’s largest federally recognized tribe. The tribe said this week that low flows from drought and from previous mismanagement of the river by the federal agency was causing a die-off of juvenile salmon from a bacterial disease that flourishes when water levels are low. Yurok fish biologists who have been testing the baby salmon in the lower Klamath River are finding that 70% of the fish are already dead in the traps used to collect them and 97% are infected by the bacteria known as C. shasta. “Right now, the Klamath River is full of dead and dying fish on the Yurok Reservation,” said Frankie Myers, vice chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “This disease will kill most of the baby salmon in the Klamath, which will impact fish runs for many years to come. For salmon people, a juvenile fish kill is an absolute worst-case scenario.” Irrigators, meanwhile, reacted with disbelief as the news of a water shut-off in the canals spread. A newsletter published by the Klamath Water Users Association, which represents many of the region’s farmers, blared the headline, “Worst Day in the History of the Klamath Project.” Farmers reported already seeing dust storms that obscured vision for 100 yards (91 meters), and they worried about their wells running dry. About 30 protesters showed up Thursday at the head gates of the main dam to protest the shut-off and ask the irrigation district to defy federal orders and divert the water. The Herald and News reported that they were with a group called People’s Rights, a far-right organization founded by anti-government activist Ammon Bundy. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, both Democrats, have declared drought emergencies in the region, and the Bureau of Reclamation has set aside $15 million in immediate aid for irrigators. Another $10 million will be available for drought assistance from the US Department of Agriculture. Ben DuVal, president of the Klamath Water Users Association, urged his members to remain peaceful and not let the water crisis “be hijacked for other causes.” The seasonal allocations are the region’s most dramatic development since irrigation water was all but cut off to hundreds of farmers in 2001 amid another severe drought – the first time farmers’ interests took a backseat to fish and tribes. The crisis made the rural farming region hundreds of miles from any major city a national political flashpoint and became a touchstone for Republicans who used the crisis to take aim at the Endangered Species Act, with one GOP lawmaker calling the irrigation shutoff a “poster child” for why changes were needed. A “bucket brigade” protest attracted 15,000 people who scooped water from the Klamath River and passed it, hand over hand, to a parched irrigation canal. The situation in the Klamath Basin was set in motion more than a century ago, when the U.S. government began draining a network of shallow lakes and marshlands, redirecting the natural flow of water and constructing hundreds of miles of canals and drainage channels to create farmland. Homesteads were offered by lottery to World War II veterans. The project turned the region into an agricultural powerhouse – some of its potato farmers supply In ‘N Out burger – but permanently altered an intricate water system that spans hundreds of miles and from southern Oregon to Northern California. In 1988, two species of sucker fish were listed as endangered under federal law. Less than a decade later, coho salmon that spawn downstream from the reclamation project, in the lower Klamath River, were listed as threatened. The water necessary to sustain the coho salmon downstream comes from Upper Klamath Lake – the main holding tank for the farmers’ irrigation system. At the same time, the sucker fish in the lake need at least 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 centimeters) of water covering the gravel beds they use as spawning grounds. The drought also means farmers this summer will not flush irrigation water into a network of six national wildlife refuges that are collectively called the Klamath National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The refuges, nicknamed the Everglades of the West, support up to 80% of the birds that migrate on the Pacific Flyway. The refuges also support the largest concentrations of wintering Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail
The media network says bombing is a ‘clear act’ to stop journalists from reporting events in Gaza Strip, vows to pursue every available route to hold the Israeli gov’t responsible.Al Jazeera condemns in the strongest terms the bombing and destruction of its offices by the Israeli military in Gaza and views this as a clear act to stop journalists from conducting their sacred duty to inform the world and report events on the ground.
Al Jazeera promises to pursue every available route to hold the Israeli government responsible for its actions.
Residents and occupants of al-Jalaa building, which housed Al Jazeera’s office along with leading international media outlets, such as The Associated Press and Middle East Eye, were informed by the Israeli army via a phone call that they had less than one hour to vacate the building.
Al Jazeera calls on all media and human right institutions to join forces in denouncing these ruthless bombings and to hold the government of Israel accountable for deliberately targeting journalists and media institutions.
⭕ LIVE footage of the moment an Israeli air raid bombed the offices of Al Jazeera and The Associated Press in Gaza City ⬇️
🔴 LIVE updates: https://t.co/RvtP1lEX1x pic.twitter.com/RBO1ZiDAl0
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 15, 2021
Commenting on the bombing of al-Jalaa building, Dr Mostefa Souag, acting director general of Al Jazeera Media Network, said: “We call on the international community to condemn such barbaric actions and targeting of journalists and we demand an immediate international action to hold Israel accountable for its deliberate targeting of journalists and the media institutions.”
Dr Souag added: “The aim of this heinous crime is to silence the media and to hide the untold carnage and suffering of the people of Gaza.
“The destruction of Al Jazeera offices and that of other media organizations in al-Jalaa tower in Gaza is a blatant violation of human rights and is internationally considered a war crime. We call on all media and human rights institutions in denouncing this heinous crime, and to stand with Al Jazeera and other media organisations targeted by the Israeli army, despite knowing their use of the building as their headquarters for many years.”
The assault on the building hosting international media institutions aims to silence the truth by killing the messenger.
Journalism is not a crime.